Thousands cheer UK Olympians in London

2012-09-10 16:21


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Tens of thousands of Britons took to the streets of London on Monday to cheer Olympic and Paralympic athletes, celebrating a summer of spectacular sport that surprised even the most optimistic by lifting the host nation's mood.

In scenes reminiscent of the Royal Jubilee and the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, flag-waving fans crammed into the centre of the city to cheer the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and David Weir.

Some 800 athletes rode atop 21 floats past many of the landmarks that made up the backdrop to the London Games, a day after the Paralympic closing ceremony brought an end to the 45-day festival of sport.

"It's been fantastic," said 39-year-old Sophie Edwards, alongside her four-year-old daughter Hannah. "It's been very inspiring - such a good message for the younger generation."

The sense of national pride generated by the successful running of the world's biggest sporting event contrasts with the sense of foreboding that built up before the Games, with the media questioning whether a country still in recession should be paying $14bn to host a sports event.

Challenges, success

A last minute failure by a private company to provide enough security guards also raised fears about the Games taking place under a heavy military presence as organisers called up extra armed forces personnel to police the event.

Instead the Games were deemed to have given Britain a much-needed lift, although, with years of government austerity ahead, questions remain over how long the feel good factor will last.

Some of the loudest cheers on Monday were for the thousands of unpaid volunteers who presented a welcoming face to visitors in a city not renowned for its public displays of emotion.

"Sunday night marked the end of a season of wonder that seemed to surprise the hosts as much as the guests, a period where we looked in the mirror and were met by an unexpected reflection - one we rather liked," the Guardian newspaper said.

Continuous delight

Prime Minister David Cameron, surrounded by volunteers on the doorstep to his Number 10 Downing Street residence, said the success of the athletes and the praise from visitors around the world had given the country a huge boost.

"It's brought the country together. I think 2012 will be like 1966 ... something that will continue to delight us long after this time has passed," he said, referring to England's sole victory at the soccer World Cup.

Britain also exceeded its ambitions in the performance of its athletes. The head of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, hailed the Games as the best Paralympics ever after it drew record crowds and millions watched on television.

The host nation finished third in the Olympic medal table - behind the United States and China but ahead of Russia, Korea and Germany - and third in the Paralympic medal table, behind China and Russia.

Read more on:    paralympics 2012  |  olympics 2012

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?



How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.